Shamrockin’ the road

March 17, 2008 at 9:27 pm 2 comments

We arrived at Kelly and Adam’s house around mid-afternoon on Saturday. After trekking another half-hour north and back to pick up our race packets, we spent a quiet evening at their house, watching movies on TV and eating a fine meal of chicken, broccoli and couscous prepared by Kelly. And then I realized I FORGOT MY EARMUFFS. The weather forecast for Sunday called for chilly, windy weather in the 40s, and I cannot bear to run in the chilly wind without MY EARMUFFS. My first instinct was to dash out to Target, but since it is March, I remembered, I can no longer buy EARMUFFS. I can, however, buy a bikini.

As luck would have it, I have become something of an obsessive crocheter, and had packed some yarn, hooks and scissors. So Friday evening and part of Saturday morning I spent crocheting myself a headband to cover my ears — for which I was very grateful because it was chilly and windy, but my ears were toasty and protected from the wind. (The picture quality is poor because it’s a very tiny piece of a larger picture from very far away. But you can see the headband.)

We left the house late, but still managed to make it in time to find a place to get in line with the other 3,319 runners, and even still had enough time to spend a few minutes searching desperately for a restroom. We didn’t find one, which may account partially for my motivation to continue running the entire distance, despite runners dropping into a walk all around me, and also for my finishing in less time than I had anticipated. Kelly and I, and at least a dozen other runners, were rewarded with an open McDonald’s at the finish.

As we power walked up a giant hill to the starting line, speculating whether we would make it in time, we were surprised by the spectator turnout, which in turn prompted the most succinct summary of the event from another runner walking along with us: “This is the biggest [gathering] of drunken athletes I’ve ever seen.”

I finished in 31:52, according to the nifty little chip timer we got to have strapped to our ankles. I have never run with anything strapped to my ankle, and though by the end I had nearly forgotten about it, at first I was disturbed by the feeling that I was wearing one sock taller than the other. Anyway, we both ran it at roughly an 11-minute mile pace, which is consistent with what I’ve been doing on my weekend ‘long’ runs, so I am quite pleased with my performance. According to the official results, I placed 2486th, and Kelly took 2488, in 31:53. We were hoping to take home at least 2479th place, but alas, it was only our first 5K. Maybe next year.

I will say that my other motivation for continuing (besides the need for a toilet) — even though it was *HARD* — was Kelly, who apparently gets a rush by passing people. I endured the majority of the race about three strides behind her. I wanted to walk. I won’t lie. My shins were hurting. Other people were walking. And every time I’d catch up and get next to her, she’d speed up again. Doh. And I will not, cannot forget when we passed the water station — Kelly slowing her pace and turning around to look at me as I gazed longingly at what was for that moment the most beautiful sight in Baltimore — and instead of saying, “Hey, you look incredibly thirsty; I am too. Let’s stop for a second or two and grab some of that cool, refreshing elixir of life!” — she said, “Look! Everyone threw their cups on the ground! Isn’t that crazy?!” Then she turned around and sped up. Again.

Still, she is the perfect running partner for me, and I am happy to say that I think that maybe I have convinced her that running the MCM in October with me is a FABULOUS IDEA. IT WILL BE AS MUCH FUN AS THE 5K … times *NINE* (minus 1.7).

In the end, we accomplished what was most important: we finished, we finished strong, we finished with a trip to Cold Stone Creamery.

Next stop: 10K.

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Entry filed under: challenges, run-o-cam, Sarahthon, thoughts.

T minus The Land of Nod

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